Fall Fair makes successful return

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The Hay River Fall Fair has made a successful return after a three-year hiatus.

Cindy Caudron Looking at items on display at Hay River Fall Fair. Paul Bickford Northern News Services Ltd
Cindy Caudron Looking at items on display at Hay River Fall Fair. Paul Bickford Northern News Services Ltd.

Jill Morse, one of the main organizers of the event, said the revival was really great.

“Better than we expected,” she said. “Our entries weren’t off the charts like previous years, because it had a lull for three years.”

There were 171 entries in various categories from 56 participants.

“It was perfect for us because this is our first year learning,” Morse said.

Plus, she noted the previous organizers also started with about the same number of participants in their first year, and the number grew to 91 people by the last time the event was held in 2014.

Morse noted the number of participants and entries this year kept organizers busy late into the night before the fall fair with judging and scorekeeping.

“So it was a good thing we didn’t get any more entries,” she said. “But next year now that the word is out, we’ll get more entries and we’ll be ready.”

As of mid-afternoon on Sept. 8, about 420 people had come through the doors of the event.

This was the first fall fair in the new Rec Centre. It was held in the Community Hall as opposed to the curling rink, which this year hosted the Hay River Chamber of Commerce Trade Show.

“We like this location,” said Morse of the Community Hall, noting organizers have talked about staying there next year.

She said 15 vendors fit into the Community Hall, along with the displays of winning entries.

Morse also noted having the Kids’ Carnival – part of the Hay River Fall Fair – in the lobby in front of the swimming pool worked well.

“It’s kind of nice having that separate,” she said.

Overall, Morse was “very happy” with the fall fair.

The winner of the Grand Aggregate Award was Rochelle Smith, who received a wicker chair and a picture. The award is presented based on a points system for ribbons won and number of categories entered.

Morse and a core group of about a half-dozen women revived the fall fair, which originally started in 1977.

Two of the reasons the fall fair was not held for the past several years were uncertainty about the availability of a venue because of a municipal workers strike in 2015 and then the reconstruction of the Rec Centre.